Japanese dogma has made “Zen” a familiar concept around the world; Japan’s aesthetics are inspirationally drawn from elements of nature and Zen Buddhist philosophies. The art of traditional Japanese gardens and architecture with their aesthetically pleasing and elegantly simple designs have inspired and fascinated generations of artisans. Our journey focuses on the ancient Japanese artisan's psyche while on the ancient Buddhist Shinto pilgrimage routes of sacred Nikko and Mt. Fuji territories, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Our photo tour-workshop begins in an ancient bamboo forest, to Shinrin-Yoku (森林浴) with camera in hand during the golden hour, then off to Nikko for our welcome dinner, and to enjoy the art of fine Japanese cuisine with a toast! Each evening we will take a moment to discuss our next day's photography so that you will be well prepared.
Before Nikko awakes, we will capture the sacred Shinkyo bridge, the gateway to the Futarasan Jinja best viewed at first light. Nikko's Toshogu is Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex. The buildings are lacquered and decorated with vibrant colors, and the pillars and other structures are covered in a multitude of carvings. The carvings are not simply design elements; they are expressions of spirituality (Reiju Holy Spiritual animals) as well as scholarly and philosophical mystical beings. The Rinno-Ji Buddhist Temple founded in the 8th-century is both serene and mesmerizing.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikko encompass over 100 buildings and structures and for centuries together with their natural surrounding, have been a sacred site. They are closely associated with the history of ‘The Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu Samurai,’ and the Tokugawa Shoguns that followed. The shrines and temples contain both Shinto and Buddhist elements which are common throughout Japan; Blain and your photography workshop leaders are well versed with most of the religious iconography and is most happy to share their knowledge in what they love to photograph.
Kegon Waterfalls is one of the top 3 most picturesque waterfalls in Japan. From Akechidaira observatory you have access to the towering 97 meters (318 feet) of Kegon Falls along with the breathtaking view of Lake Chuzenji. During our photo tour workshop, we will visit various waterfalls, lakes, and places of natural beauty as we explore the Lake Chuzenji region.
Mt. Fuji has been worshipped as a sacred mountain for as long as humans have lived nearby and is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Originally, Fujisan was a sacred mountain for the Ainu, recognised by the government of Japan in 2018 as the First Nations people. The Fuji Five Lakes at the base of Mount Fuji are comprised of Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Saiko, Shoji and Motsosu lakes. Over 95% of Japanese have never visited all the fuji five lakes; you will be among the few that have photographed and ambled the shores of all the fuji five lakes. And enjoy Shinrin-Yoku (森林浴) with camera in hand at the base of Mt. Fuji.
Day 1, 2, 3, Arrival and meet Tokyo, Haneda Airport, (HND) An ancient samurai bamboo forest, Photo Tour Nikko UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Toshogu and Futarasan-Jinja Shinto Shrines, Rinno-Ji Buddhist Temple.
Day 4, Kegon waterfalls, Chuzenji Lake, Akechidaira Plateau Senjougahara, various other lakes and waterfalls.
Day 5, 6, 7, Mt. Fuji, The Fuji five Lakes, The Sea of Trees and Caves, Shinto Shrines. Overnight La Vista Fuji-Kawaguchiko. Lodgings La Vista Fuji-Kawaguchiko.
Day 8, Drop off and departure from Tokyo, Haneda Airport, (HND). Thank you, and we look forward to the next adventure together.
Why Choose this Photography Tour/Workshop? •Photographers of all levels are welcome. •All Camera formats are welcome: digital, handy camera, scoping with iPhone large format, film, etc. •Photograph Japanese architectural masterpieces. •Unique UNESCO World Heritage photo tour power points. •Activity level leisurely - moderate. •Transportation Private Sports Utility Vehicles with Business Class Seating. •Small group size equals quality time with participants questions are always welcome and encouraged. •Each evening and morning we discuss our best shooting options with our weather conditions so that you will be well prepared. •2018 will be the tour leaders 22nd year leading photo adventures in Japan.
Tour cost: $5300 Includes all lodging based on double room occupancy 3-5 star with western style toiletries, all breakfast, and dinners, all group ground transportation sports utility vehicles with business class seating, all entrance fees, all donations at temples and shrines, professional photography guide instruction, detailed itinerary, clothing and gear recommendations.
Single supplement: $1000
Not included: Flight to JPN and from JPN, alcohol beverages, travel health insurance, lunches, items of a personal nature.